Around this time of year, I start seeing a lot of roly polys (also known as pill bugs or wood lice) in the mounds of dirt/mulch at the bases of trees by the bus stop. I love the little guys, and it seems that I’ve passed on this love to my nanny kids. Because of their interest, I’ve also learned some interesting things about them! Here’s a few:
1. Roly polys aren’t bugs! Tell that to kiddos and you’ll usually get a funny look and a “huh???” from them. They’re actually terrestrial crustaceans, which means that are in the same family of animals as shrimp, but they only live on land. They do breath using gills, though, and require a moist environment to breathe. This is why you’ll see them most often in the morning, when the dew has left the ground damp.
2. They don’t pee, and they eat their own poop. Kinda gross, I know, but it’s the facts of life! They eat their poop in order to “recycle” minerals that they need to survive.
3. Sometimes they are bright blue. If you see this, it means the poor thing is sick. 😦 It won’t get you sick, though, so why not pick it up and give it some encouraging words? Feel better soon!
4. They’re good for the earth! They eat decaying plants and animals, which is good for the environment. Think of them as nature’s garbage disposal!
5. Their blood isn’t red like ours- it’s blue! Weird, right?
If you want to have fun with roly polys, go for it! But remember to be gentle and don’t play with them for too long. I like taking out my Roly Poly Playground for them! Just make sure to always put them back in the dirt when it’s time to stop playing!